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Black Coffee in a Coconut Shell

Black Coffee in a Coconut Shell
Caste as Lived Experience

First Edition
Edited by:

November 2017 | 252 pages | SAGE YODA Press

Caste, as it is experienced in everyday life, is the pièce de résistance of this book. Thirty-two voices narrate how from childhood to adulthood, caste intruded upon their lives—food, clothes, games, gait, love, marriage and every aspect of one’s existence including death. Like the editor Perumal Murugan says, caste is like god, it is omnipresent.

The contributors write about the myriad ways in which they have experienced caste. It may be in the form of forgoing certain kinds of food, or eating food at secluded corners of a household, or drinking tea out of a crushed plastic cup, or drinking black coffee in a coconut shell or water poured from above into a cupped hand. Such experiences may also take the form of forbidden streets, friends disapproved of and love denied. And when one leaves behind the fear of caste while living one’s life, there is still death to deal with.

Translator's Preface: Marked Bodies, Marked Minds
Perumal Murugan
Introduction: The Buried Treasure I Found
N. Arulmurugan
A Relentless Voice
K. Anbazhagan
Caste in Folk Theatre
M. Ananthan
N. Ranjan
Of What Use?
R. Rajasekaran
Only Son of the Family
P. Rajeskannan
The Ugly Face of Caste
P. Ezhilarasi
Of the Soil
T. Kalaichelvan
In Which Ganges Do We Bathe?
K. Kasimariyappan
Futile Whimpering
V. Krishnan
Pollution and Untouchability
P. Gunasekaran
Ugly Grin
P. Kumaresan
A Kind of Pain
S. Gopi
A Wedding Feast with Mutton
Empty Pride
S. Sathiskumar
The Deep Pain of Identity
C. Chandiran
Snatched Freedom and Life
A. Chinnadurai
Like Eating Faeces
P. Suresh
Born of a Father, Born into a Caste
C. Sureshkumar
Upper Caste Goddess
M. Senthamarai
V. Dharmalingam
Dealing with Inability
M. Natarajan
P. Nallusamy
Keeping Friends
P. Balasubramaniam
Black Coffee in a Coconut Shell
R. Prabhakar
Acceptance or Rejection?
K. Poonkothai
Perumal Murugan
Everyday Moments
R. Mahendiran
P. Muthusamy
R. Venkatachalam
Family of Snake Charmers
M. Venkatesan
Stale Food
M. Venugopal
Taking Life as It Comes

 ...nowhere has caste been spoken about in the public sphere with such explicitness as in this book

Perumal Murugan in the Introduction

“Pre-planned, very proficient, professional and sharp which was composed and researched…was very impactful.”


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ISBN: 9789352804979